PITTSBURGH (AP) — A lawyer rejected from practicing law in Pennsylvania in the 1800s because he was black has been posthumously admitted to the state’s bar.

The family of George Vashon was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a ceremony before the state Supreme Court. Chief Justice Ronald Castille signed and presented an admission certificate to the family.

Vashon was the first black person to graduate from Oberlin College, the first black lawyer in New York and the first black professor at Howard University. He grew up in Pennsylvania and studied law in Pittsburgh but was twice rejected to practice law because of his race.

A lawyer who read about Vashon decided with the family to petition the court to posthumously admit Vashon. The court agreed to in May.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.